Abu Dhabi-based AD Ports Group has bought a majority stake in International Associated Cargo Carrier (IACC), an Egyptian shipping and terminals conglomerate whose business portfolio includes a regional liner company and a container and bulk terminal operator.

AD Ports said it has spent $140m to acquire a 70% stake in IACC, with the deal funded by its internal cash reserves that at the end of March stood at AED 3 billion ($810m).

Falah Mohammed Al Ahbabi, chairman of AD Ports Group, described the deal as the first overseas acquisition in AD Ports’ history, and said it was “an important milestone in our ambitious international expansion plan”.

“This acquisition will support our wider growth targets for North Africa and the Gulf region and broaden the portfolio of services we are able to offer in those markets,” Al Ahbabi said.

The prime asset in the deal is Transcargo International S.A.E., a terminal operator and stevedoring company that operates out of Egypt's Adabiya Port, where it is the exclusive container operator.

Transcargo’s two lines of business are container and bulk cargo services. In 2021, the subsidiary handled 92,500-teus and 1.2m tonnes of bulk cargo.

AD Ports also becomes the majority owner of Transmar International Shipping, a regional container shipping company that operates in the Red Sea, Middle East Gulf and along the east coast of Africa using owned and chartered container ships.

IACC was established in 1979 by Egyptian businessman Mostafa El Ahwal as a stevedoring company, but quickly expanded into shipping, first in breakbulk shipping and then the container sector.

The El Ahwal family and their executive team will retain their management roles in the company, AD Ports said.

The acquisition of a majority stake in IACC is one of many major investments that AD Ports has made outside of its core business of operating the major ports in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.

In recent years the company has expanded into liner, bulk and offshore shipping through subsidiary Safeen.

TradeWinds reported on Monday that Safeen has spent in the region of $385m on container ships and bulk carriers in the past 12 months, and plans to buy more ships in the near future.